PortraitPastor Greg Locke, a 46-year-old American, recently organized a book burning in Tennessee that he considers evil. His sermons, according to him inspired by the Bible, appealed to conspiratorial circles against a backdrop of Christian ultranationalism.
Watch out, it’s starting. A group sings the glory of God in rock ‘n’ roll formation, electric guitars and drums. We are still near Nashville, Tennessee. Here, the air is full of notes. In town, a museum celebrates the child of the country, Johnny Cash (1932-2003), the genius of country music, believer and sinner, always dressed in black. But under the giant marquee, at Mount Juliet, they serve karaoke soup. The singer spreads her arms. “You turn shame into glory, only you have the power!” You turn cemeteries into gardens…” The lyrics scroll across the screen. In the front row, two women fall to their knees. Others raise their arms. Later, some visitors will be fully immersed in the water, head back. For this baptism, a kind of horse trough takes the place of the Jordan River.
Pastor Greg Locke, 46, does stand-up. He masterfully uses his drawling voice, rising in intensity at key moments. ” Yes that’s it ! Well said ! »responds the galvanized public. “I don’t care that you love me”, claims the speaker, with obvious charisma. His sermon of the day is devoted to Jesus the exorcist, the healer who defeats demons. This was his main activity, says the pastor, far ahead of walking on water and transforming water into wine. Greg Locke multiplies the references (Matthew, Mark, Luke) by skimming over them: he reads an extract from the Gospels, sees in it the confirmation of his thesis, takes off his glasses, comments, moves on to the next extract. He warned us: “The Bible admits of only one interpretation. It is made to be applied. » In 2020, one of Greg Locke’s books was titled: This Means War (« it means war”).
It is in the name of this « guerre » that Greg Locke recently decided to burn Harry Potter. To save the children. To hear it, this work with planetary success is witchcraft, like the saga Twilight. “These books are demonic, full of spells, metaphors, necromancy. » In great evils, great fires. At the beginning of February, the pastor invited the members of his congregation to an evening burning. Books were thrown by armfuls into the flames. The fire then spread on social networks. Emotion in progressive circles: in Nashville, a booming city, a pastor burns the books! Scandal sought, objective achieved. The proof: we are sitting opposite him, in the premises of his religious center called Global Vision Bible Church, which has become one of the many centers of conspiracy theses that roam rural Christian America, with a strong white and Republican majority.
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